Painting is one of my favourite activities to do with Ollie. It’s so simple, but keeps him entertained for ages, and it’s perfect for rainy days when we’re trapped inside. Having said that, it can get a little boring when you do it ALL the time. So, I’m always looking for ways to make it a bit different and more interesting.
Here are my favourite ways to paint with kids that don’t just involve paintbrushes:
I used to do this all the time when I was little, and it’s so simple but makes really pretty and unusual pictures. Get some paper and tape it down – preferably in something with sides like a tray or box lid. Then drop some paint on it and use a straw to blow patterns on the page. Watercolours work better than poster paints as they’re easier to blow, but I’ve also used food colouring which worked perfectly. I’ve also been told that if you poke a little hole at the top of the straw, it prevents the child being able to suck the paint back up the straw.
This is the perfect activity for when you want to do some creative sensory play, without the clean up. It’s a great sensory activity for babies, as well as older children. You can either use cling film to cover the paint, or a clear, sealable bag. It’s also a great way for children to practise mark making!
You can either use a tray with high side, or a plastic tub for this one depending on how messy you think it might get! Tape some paper to the bottom of the container, add a few drops of paint then add your marbles. Lift the container up and move it around so the marbles roll around the paint and make patterns.
Painting With Nature
Whenever we go out for a walk, Ollie always likes to collect things along the way, like leaves, feathers and pine cones. They’re great for painting with as they make all kinds of unusual shapes and patterns. It’s also a good way to get children interested in nature by letting them investigate different natural objects.
Painting With Kitchen Utensils
Kitchen utensils are brilliant for painting with as they make so many different patterns. I used a potato masher, a fork, a scoop and some cake decorating tools. I bought the cake tools for 99p on eBay a few years ago with all intention of learning how to decorate cakes, but never got round to it. But, we’ve used them SO many times in different activities, so I’d definitely recommend investing in a set! Ollie really enjoyed making different shapes and patterns. I think he really enjoyed the novelty of using things he doesn’t normally get to play with!
Vegetable printing is a great way to use up old vegetables or fruit. You can use them as they are – sweetcorn and celery are great for this – or cut them in half and cut patterns into them. We’ve used potato stamps to make Mother’s Day cards and print our own wrapping paper.
Hand And Foot Printing
This is a lovely way to make keepsakes or handmade cards. You can let your little one dip their hand into paint, then press it onto some paper. Or, if you want a more neat print, use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of paint to their hand or foot before pressing it down firmly.
Painting On Foil
I’m a big fan of using household items to entertain the kids and this requires basically no preparation. Just grab some tin foil and paints and let your little one get creative. I taped the foil down so it didn’t get screwed up while Ollie was painting. It’s a nice sensory activity because it involves sound as well as sight.